WASHINGTON (AP) — The National Republican Congressional Committee said Tuesday that it was hit with a "cyber intrusion" during the 2018 midterm campaigns and has reported the breach to the FBI.
The committee provided few details about the incident, but said the intrusion was conducted by an "unknown entity."
"The cybersecurity of the committee's data is paramount, and upon learning of the intrusion, the NRCC immediately launched an internal investigation and notified the FBI, which is now investigating the matter," spokesman Ian Prior said in a statement. "To protect the integrity of that investigation, the NRCC will offer no further comment on the incident."
The FBI had no comment. Politico first reported the cyberbreach.
The severity and circumstances of the hacking weren't made clear. Politically motivated cyberespionage is commonplace across the world, but Americans have become particularly alert to the possibility of digital interference following the 2016 election. That hack is still fresh in the minds of many political operatives.
Celebs vote in 2018 Midterm elections
Celebs vote in 2018 Midterm elections
I did it. Now it’s your turn. Tuesday 11/6. #VOTE
I’m feeling grateful for everyone before me who fought so hard to give us all the right to have a voice. We can’t voice our frustrations and complain about what’s wrong without voting and exercising our power to make it right. We need you. We all need each other, because when we are truly united we are unstoppable. Sending you all love and positivity on this happy voting day!
Every vote counts
Every race matters
I Voted! 🇺🇸 ✅ How about you?!
On the off chance you forgot, #VOTE. #ElectionDay #MidtermElections2018
Every #vote counts. 🇺🇸
For all of our ancestors that fought and died and lived and survived and created everything we now have access to, I bow down in deep deep honor. We are proud to be your wildest dream and we won’t let you down!!!! Let’s keep it up we are awake, aware, growing and powerful!! #votewithus 💥💥💥 (check my story)
⬆️These two Tennessee women⬆️ voted for the candidate who has proven himself to be reasonable and trustworthy. We want leadership, not fear-based extremism. Early voting goes til Thursday and Election Day is November 6. Please don’t sit this one out.
We voted ❤️🇺🇸
It’s a right not to be taken for granted so I did it a day early and I’m gonna rock this sticker all day. #votevotevote
The antidote to Hate... VOTE your love!
What a birthday! I just smoked a huge bowl of early voting. #JustVoted @whenweallvote
I did it! Felt soooooo good. #Vote #whenweallvote #WeMatter
I. AM. A. VOTER. Proud to use my voice, and exercise my RIGHT to VOTE! @iamavoter #vote #midterms
Need a ride to the polls? We will pick you up in a party bus, give you some snacks, and let you pick the playlist. Just ask Harry & Bob 🇺🇸 #VOTE
10.15.18 Early Voted ✔️ And I’m still helping organize pals and strangers alike to get out the vote! My #votingsquad is STRONG!! How’s yours? Make a plan, talk it through, and vote together!
CONFUSED ABOUT BALLOT MEASURES!? (I know, there’s a lot!) Check out VoteSaveAmerica.com for all the facts and easy breakdowns of ballot measures in YOUR state! •
Thank you to my soul sister squad @ridershop @conniebritton @mspackyetti @jsmizzie @vanessamagos @nialauryn @ruthielindsey @alextcooks @mandanadayani @abbywambach and @glennondoyle. We got boys too! @jedidiahjenkins @kennyjamez @glassofwhiskey @wakingupwithryan @princeflips @get ardocelasco and more. Like I said. My squad is serious! We really love America! #WhenWeAllVote (swipe to hear from the First Lady of Voting herself, @michelleobama!) #GOTV #VOTE #WhenWeAllVote #IAmAVoter
Thank you 14th & 19th Amendment for letting me vote today! Comment or tag yourself if you feel the same!
I voted today for my baby right here and his future!!!
Go be awesome and VOTE YOUR FRIGGIN FACE OFF!
TODAY IS THE DAY. Don’t let anything stop you from voting. Make your voice heard. Every single vote counts. #VoteOrDie
Our son was disappointed because he thought we were going to “boat” but otherwise a success! #Vote
@whenweallvote #yourvotematters #midterms #voteforyourfuture #whenweallvote #LAsFinest @gabunion #votevotevote -take a photo after you vote 🗳-tag me and use hashtag #postthevote you could be featured on my IG :)
ELECTION DAY EVE ~ 🌊 🗳🙏🏾✊🏾
I voted because I care deeply about representation, education, criminal justice, healthcare, truth, equity and so many other things that are at stake.
If I could vote in Georgia or Florida, I’d vote for @staceyabrams or @andrewgillum! Why are you voting?
Sweatshirt by @phenomenal.ly
I am so grateful to be home in time to vote! One vote can make a difference, so make sure your voice is heard!🗳 🇺🇸 now go out and #VOTE!!!!
You’d think I’d be all set to vote right? Here’s a little story: I had to enter my info 4 times before the state site confirmed I was registered! This is how passionate I am about using my voice and my right to vote. You have to have the patience and interest in getting to the polls tomorrow. They think young people don’t vote, latinos don’t vote, women dont vote, PROVE THEM WRONG!!! This election affects us ALL. VOTE. It’s so important that ALL of our voices are heard, not just a few... we live in a beautiful country where we all have a say!!! I urge all of you PLEASE get out there and vote, there are so many issues at stake these elections!! And they affect us all in our daily lives in some way! If you are frustrated by what you been seeing and hearing, you can change it!! You have the power!!! I HAVE A BUNCH OF VOTER INFO IN MY STORIES TO HELP YOU!! #GOVOTE #VOTA #ELECTIONEVE #VOTETUESDAY
Let your voice be heard!!!
It’s #TheLastWeekend to get out there and get involved! My absentee ballot’s in... make sure you GO VOTE on Tuesday!! Remember: NO voting booth selfies 😂 More info in bio.
Todos tenemos por lo menos una razón para votar el 6 de noviembre. Para mis amigos en Texas, yo estoy con @betoorourke! Como madre latina, sé que tengo que votar.
Yo voy a votar porque mi voto es mi voz. ¿Y tú? ¿Por qué vas a votar @georgelopez?
Haz tu video con tu smartphone diciendo por qué vas a votar el 6 de noviembre y compártelo. /// We ALL have at least one reason to vote on November 6. To all my fellow Texans: I stand with @betoorourke! As a Latina, I know I have to vote.
I’m voting because my vote is my voice.
And you? Why are you going to vote @georgelopez?
Make a video with your smartphone stating why you are voting on November 6 and share it.
#LatinasenMarcha #YoVoyAVotar #LatinosStandUp #MidtermsMatter
Happy Election Day- Let's all do our part and get out and vote today! 🗳🇺🇸It's also #homebodydesignbook launch day! You can watch us this morning on the @today show during the 8 o'clock hour in your time zone.
Today’s the day. Make your voice heard and VOTE. Need a ride? Both @uber and @lyft are offering free rides to the polls! Check out their socials for details. #vote
I JUST VOTED IN MY STATE OF FLORIDA!!!!!!!! ELECTION DAY IS NOVEMBER 6 AND EARLY VOTING GOES TO NOVEMBER 4. GO TO VOTE.ORG TO FIND YOUR NEAREST POLLING PLACE, THIS WEBSITE’S INFORMATION IS SO CLEAR AND EASY TO UNDERSTAND. I AM SORRY FOR THE CAPITALS, I JUST FEEL REALLY EXCITED THAT I JUST VOTED BECAUSE I FEEL LIKE IM TAKING MY FRUSTRATION AT THE INJUSTICES THAT HAPPEN IN OUR COUNTRY AND TURNING IT INTO ACTION!!! EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US CAN TURN THOSE FEELINGS INTO ACTION WHEN WE SHOW UP TO VOTE. ONE VOTE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. WE CAN CONTRIBUTE AND HELP WRITE THE STORY OF OUR COUNTRY JUST BY TAKING A FEW MINUTES OUT OF OUR DAY TO VOTE!!! ALSO ITS MY GRANDMAS FIRST TIME VOTING IN THE UNITED STATES AND SHE DID HER RESEARCH AND PREPARED HERSELF AND WE ARE ALL FEELING SO GOOD !!! LETS. GOOOO. LETS VOTE! ➡️➡️➡️➡️➡️➡️➡️VOTE.ORG.
November 6th is our day to say women are never going away, so get used to it.
Ok, Ladies (& gentlemen), now let’s get in formation! 👯♀️👯♀️👯♂️Tomorrow is Election Day! Grab your friends and vote!!!! Find your voting location at Vote.org @votedotorg
This is another moment to stand for Standing Rock. Native people are here, they’re resilient, and despite the laws trying to suppress them, they’re ready to vote. Text 788683 to take the #StandNVote pledge. Let’s bring this home.
I voted early and so can you! Go to vote.org and please vote. Please. (The sticker looks janky cuz it was stuck to the backing and I had to cut it out carefully otherwise it would have ripped. A great metaphor for our democracy! Vote dammit!)
I AM GOING TO ASK YOU IF YOU VOTED TODAY AND IF YOU ALREADY DID THEN ASK EVERYONE AROUND YOU IF THEY DID BECAUSE THERE IS NO EXCUSE, I HAVE RESORTED TO SHOUTING IN ALL CAPS SO PLEASE VOTE AND I WILL STOP THE CAPS
We voted! And we agreed on this photo!
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In March 2018, NRCC Chairman Steve Stivers said the committee hired multiple cybersecurity staffers to work with its candidates and promised to do more.
"We're starting to advise campaigns, but we're not ready to roll the whole thing out. We're working on it," Stivers said at the time. "We're working on the technology-based stuff to try and make sure that we know what's out there — which is hard, too — and then we try to defend against it the best we can."
In August, Microsoft alerted the public to attempts by government-backed Russian hackers to target U.S. conservatives' email by creating fake websites that appeared to belong a pair of think tanks, the Hudson Institute and International Republican Institute. It also confirmed an attempt similarly attributed to Russian hackers to infiltrate the Senate computer network of Sen. Claire McCaskill, the Missouri Democrat who lost a re-election bid in November.
Google later confirmed in September that the personal Gmail accounts of multiple senators and staffers had recently been targeted by foreign hackers, though it did not specify the cyberspies' nationality nor the party affiliations of the targets.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Russian state-aligned hackers organized the leak of more than 150,000 emails stolen from more than a dozen Democrats. The FBI later said that the Russians had targeted more than 300 people affiliated with the Hillary Clinton campaign and other Democratic institutions over the course of the presidential contest.
During the 2016 presidential election, WikiLeaks' released hacked material damaging to Hillary Clinton's presidential effort, and U.S. intelligence agencies have said Russia was the source of that hacked material. Special counsel Robert Mueller is now investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, possible Russian ties to Donald Trump's presidential campaign and whether anyone had had advance knowledge of WikiLeaks' plans.
Democratic lawmakers saw their cellphone numbers splashed online and voting databases for all 50 states had some type of intrusion attempt, although only a few were compromised. That included Illinois, where records on 90,000 voters had been downloaded. There was no evidence any votes were altered.
Election systems are constantly under fire from efforts to steal sensitive data, disrupt services and undermine voter confidence.
Federal officials said after the midterms this year there had been no obvious voting system compromises — which appeared to remain the case, despite the hacking effort. There had been a major push since the midterms to shore up defenses against potential cyber intrusions, but most states remained highly vulnerable.
Associated Press writers Eric Tucker and Colleen Long in Washington and Raphael Satter in London contributed to this report.